New shopping site opens: Longtail

Francis Shanahan just wrote me and announced Longtail.

Here’s what he told me — I checked it out and it’s pretty impressive:

Longtail is a sort of Web2.0 shopping site comprising of many features:

Through Longtail you can browse, search and purchase products from Amazon’s entire product catalog. When you search Amazon, Longtail will load eBay results in the background. When you view an Amazon item, Longtail will load Similar products in the background! You can create Product feeds through RSS for Amazon Product data. This allows you to stay up to date on any set of products and their prices so you never miss a deal. Longtail has a WML interface; when you’re on the move you can search Amazon’s product database using your Blackberry! You can comparison shop with eBay and Yahoo Products to find the absolute best price. As you’re shopping you can search Google for websites referencing the products you’re interested in, or ANY web result for that matter. You can query Flickr for photos of a specific product, or Technorati for people blogging about a product realtime! Longtail will also let you find Top Selling products and New Releases in a given category. Longtail supports Amazon’s Remote Shopping Cart so you can add and purchase items on Longtail, through Amazon without affecting your existing shopping cart at Amazon.

Longtail is built with Visual Studio Web Developer Express Edition 2005, ASP.NET 2.0, the .NET 2.0 framework and a bunch of other stuff like SOAP, RSS, WML, XML, XSL, C# and so on.

Francis is the author of the cool and popular LiveSearch for Amazon dubbed “Zuggest.”

Nice Web 2.0 start to 2006.

19 thoughts on “New shopping site opens: Longtail

  1. To answer Brian’s question regarding trust and purchasing:
    There’s two ways to purchase from Amazon through Longtail, neither mechanism passes any information to Longtail.
    a) Search for an item, click “view on Amazon” which brings you directly to amazon.com.
    b) Find an item and click “add to cart”, this creates a remote shopping cart, the contents are stored in a cart Amazon.com’s servers and Longtail uses web services to retrieve them. When you go to checkout you are directed to Amazon.com where the entire checkout process takes place. Again, no information is passed to Longtail.

    Hope that clears it up.

    Again, I feel bad that the Safari and Opera users are having trouble. The one thing I will say is the RSS and WML portions of the site should still work for these users. Build a consolidated Amazon, eBay, Yahoo feed through this link:
    http://longtail.francisshanahan.com/fs.aspx
    or get individual product reviews via RSS by altering the ASIN in this link:

    http://Longtail.francisshanahan.com/g.aspx?x=acustrss&w=arss&Operation=ItemLookup&ResponseGroup=Large&ItemId=B0007Y79B2

    Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2006.
    -fs

  2. To answer Brian’s question regarding trust and purchasing:
    There’s two ways to purchase from Amazon through Longtail, neither mechanism passes any information to Longtail.
    a) Search for an item, click “view on Amazon” which brings you directly to amazon.com.
    b) Find an item and click “add to cart”, this creates a remote shopping cart, the contents are stored in a cart Amazon.com’s servers and Longtail uses web services to retrieve them. When you go to checkout you are directed to Amazon.com where the entire checkout process takes place. Again, no information is passed to Longtail.

    Hope that clears it up.

    Again, I feel bad that the Safari and Opera users are having trouble. The one thing I will say is the RSS and WML portions of the site should still work for these users. Build a consolidated Amazon, eBay, Yahoo feed through this link:
    http://longtail.francisshanahan.com/fs.aspx
    or get individual product reviews via RSS by altering the ASIN in this link:

    http://Longtail.francisshanahan.com/g.aspx?x=acustrss&w=arss&Operation=ItemLookup&ResponseGroup=Large&ItemId=B0007Y79B2

    Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2006.
    -fs

  3. Hi folks, thanks for checking it out.

    I was working on the site last night which few hours which would have resulted in the perpetual “Loading” gif. Apologies for that, I’m just one guy and Web2.0 is perpetual Beta ;)

    As far as the “undefined” errors, the site’s only been tested in Firefox and Internet Explorer. It relies heavily on the browser’s own XSLT processor which has slight nuances that I’m still working out. Again, apologies and I hope the experience has not turned you all off it.

  4. Hi folks, thanks for checking it out.

    I was working on the site last night which few hours which would have resulted in the perpetual “Loading” gif. Apologies for that, I’m just one guy and Web2.0 is perpetual Beta ;)

    As far as the “undefined” errors, the site’s only been tested in Firefox and Internet Explorer. It relies heavily on the browser’s own XSLT processor which has slight nuances that I’m still working out. Again, apologies and I hope the experience has not turned you all off it.

  5. Works for me but here’s another question: has anyone considered the issue of trust in these mash ups that involve purchasing? I don’t know this guy from Adam — why would I conduct a transaction through his site?

  6. Works for me but here’s another question: has anyone considered the issue of trust in these mash ups that involve purchasing? I don’t know this guy from Adam — why would I conduct a transaction through his site?

  7. Ohmigod, what a mashed-up mess. Broke I think.

    The next sound you hear is of a train smashing into a brick wall.

  8. Ohmigod, what a mashed-up mess. Broke I think.

    The next sound you hear is of a train smashing into a brick wall.

  9. A problem here, as well. An Amazon search for “apple firewire cable” (I need one) gives me two “Bug transforming: undefined” alerts, then nothing.

    I’ll use it, though, when it’s ready to come out of the oven.

  10. A problem here, as well. An Amazon search for “apple firewire cable” (I need one) gives me two “Bug transforming: undefined” alerts, then nothing.

    I’ll use it, though, when it’s ready to come out of the oven.

  11. Seems broken. Clicking on “Browse amazon” gets me an animated gif and a hung browser. Ditto searches.

    Guess that ASP.NET stuff needs a little work.

  12. Seems broken. Clicking on “Browse amazon” gets me an animated gif and a hung browser. Ditto searches.

    Guess that ASP.NET stuff needs a little work.

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